TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan will not allow “repeated provocations” from China, the island’s defence minister said on Tuesday, when asked about Beijing’s possible reaction to a reported meeting between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Tsai plans to meet McCarthy in the United States in coming weeks, two sources told Reuters on […]
Taiwan says won’t allow ‘repeated provocations’ from China, ahead of reported McCarthy meeting
TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan will not allow “repeated provocations” from China, the island’s defence minister said on Tuesday, when asked about Beijing’s possible reaction to a reported meeting between Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Tsai plans to meet McCarthy in the United States in coming weeks, two sources told Reuters on Monday, a move that could replace the Republican speaker’s anticipated but sensitive trip to the democratically governed island claimed by China.
China staged war games around Taiwan last August after a visit to Taipei by then U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Speaking to reporters in parliament, Taiwan Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said he was not aware of a planned meeting between Tsai and McCarthy.
“The Chinese communists use any reason to send troops,” Chiu said. “But we won’t just say ‘bring it on’. We will take a peaceful and rational approach.”
Although it hopes this does not happen, Taiwan’s military is prepared to fight, he added.
“If the Chinese communists move again, the armed forces’ job is to fight,” Chiu said. “We won’t allow repeated provocations against us. We can’t accept that.”
Taiwan’s government has not announced a Tsai visit to the United States, which previously she has made as stop overs on the way to countries which maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday said it will make an announcement at an appropriate time about any foreign travel for the president but that it had nothing to announce for the time being. McCarthy has also not confirmed a meeting with Tsai.
One of the sources told Reuters that should the U.S. meeting go forward – likely in April – it did not necessarily rule out McCarthy visiting Taiwan in the future.
Four other sources – including U.S. officials and people with knowledge of the U.S. and Taiwan administrations’ thinking – said both sides were deeply uneasy that a future visit by McCarthy would severely increase tensions across the Taiwan Strait at a time when the island is preparing for its own presidential election early next year.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Stephen Coates)
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